Saturday, December 1, 2012

Konkhra - Spit or Swallow (1995)

This is some pretty brutal shit right here. Not brutal in the "br00tal" sense, of course, but just downright skull shattering.

On this album, Konkhra successfully manages to fuse straightforward death metal with a small but generous dose of rock & roll. Ever since Entombed released their 'Hollowman' ep way back in '93, I've been a fan of so called "death & roll". Since I was but a wee lad I was enthralled by the sounds of Sabbath, The Who, Journey and Floyd, so I have never had a problem with the union of two of my favorite forms of music. Of course, some bands take a nosedive in their attempt at pulling it off, but when the going's good, it's fucking great!

The main element needed in order to determine if a band is going to be successful at creating this style of music is brutality. Now I don't mean that a band needs to sound like Disgorge or Suffocation, in fact, that much brutality would completely ruin everything and render the attempt as being laughable at best. No, I'm talkin' a nice low end and plenty of down picked, locomotive sized riffs coming straight at you. The next important ingredient is, at the very least, a rudimentary display of down home grooves that could easily have been written by Mark Farner or beef jerkey boy himself, The Nuge. Heavy on the rock with a carefully measured dose of brutality. That's the secret.

Konkhra even went so far as to incorporate one of the more punishing and sadistic drum sounds I've had the pleasure to endure, as well. Sure, the blasts mind not be the latest in gravity defying technology, but that probably would've ruined that particular aspect for me, anyhow. Personally, I've never been a blast beat fanatic, so I couldn't care less when a drummer doesn't sound like a crackhead suffering from Tourettes. Doesn't bother my ass one bit. The blasts that do appear on this album may not be the fastest out there, but they have power, and that to me is the golden ticket.

Unfortunately, Konkhra have become something of a shell of their former selves, with a persistent succession of lackluster releases throughout the last 15 or so years since the release of 'Spit or Swallow'. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing terribly out of the ordinary going on in regards to their particular method of songwriting, but much of the mojo the band possessed during their early years seems to have dissipated as the lightbulb above their collective head seems to have burned out.

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